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Northern Frederick Count Regional Library Under Review

Pamela Rigaux
Frederick News Post

(4/10) Northern Frederick County might have a new regional library by early 2007.

Final plans are under review by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Don Harper, project manager for the county's Department of Public Works.

"We just made that submission in March," Mr. Harper said. "It takes 90 days at least to be approved."

Once approved, construction projects will be bid on and construction would start in early 2006, he said.

Frederick County Commissioners allocated $9 million for the project last year, but construction was delayed because of a regional library that is about to break ground in the southern end of the county, said Elizabeth Cromwell, public relations manager for Frederick County Public Libraries.

The county didn't want two libraries built at the same time, she said. The Urbana Regional Library is expected to be completed a year from now. It will be in the Villages of Urbana on land donated by Natelli Corp.

Meanwhile, money for the regional library in Thurmont is expected to be re-allocated in the July 1, 2006 budget, Ms. Cromwell said.

The 25,000-square-foot building by itself is expected to cost $6 million, Mr. Harper said. It will stretch across three acres on the west side of East Moser Road.

"The library is one the community has wanted for a long time," Thurmont Branch Library Manager Erin Dingle said. "We're getting in the program-planning mode"

The current Thurmont branch library is about 2,000 square feet on Water Street with no parking. In contrast, the new library will have 70 parking spaces and a drive-up window.

The beauty of the new regional library is that it will be more than just a municipal library, Ms. Dingle said. "We do look to the library to be a community center."

The design, by the architectural firm Phillips Swager Associates of McClean, Va., was inspired by the surroundings, Mr. Harper said.

The plans include a lobby tower that mimics the tower of the Catoctin Furnace, a historic building where iron ore was processed during the Civil War. The new library's golden-yellow stone, though manufactured, will look similar to what is found in the area.

"The roof is a standing seam metal roof. There will be glass windows throughout it," Mr. Harper said.

The building's main entrance will face East Moser Road.

A teen section is planned for the west side of the building; a children's room for its south side. And for the second time in the county's library history, a section will be created for collections specializing in historical documents related to agriculture, said Darrell Batson, director of Frederick County Libraries. "We had a very strong request for that."

Wetlands zig-zag across the 18.3-acre lot. "We're trying to bring the wetlands into it as a teaching area," Mr. Batson said. The back side of the building, "juts out so it overlooks the wetlands."

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